Performers who kept their names

Jim Moir uses the stage name Vic Reeves, but his friends still call him Jim. It led to a nice pun for his autobiography. Me:Moir.

I met Michael Keaton. He hangs out in a bar in Thermopolis. My friend who lives there introduced us.

(it was not actually Thermopolis but another small town within a couple hundred miles of there)

Louis Székely was frustrated by hosts not being able to pronounce his name when he was coming up in stand up so he began using the phonetic spelling, Louis CK. He never changed it legally.

A couple off the top of my head, Lauren Bacall’s friends still called her Betty (Betty Joan Perske). George Burns was still Nattie to his Gracie and his friends (Nathan Birnbaum).

What’s more, currently watching the Peter Jackson doc Get Back and they all call him Richey. Kind of neat seeing how they actually interacted with each other.
Edit to add, The Beatles all call him Rich, but the engineer and others do call him Ringo.

I don’t remember noticing that when I saw the Let it Be film but it was a while ago. I do remember Wilfrid Brambell calling him Rich in A Hard Day’s Night. Prior to Get Back I think they were pretty good at calling him Ringo while the cameras were on.

I’ve read an interview with Peter Jackson yesterday, and he mentioned that the original cinematographer (sorry, forgot his name) often glued tape on the red camera light, let the cameraman go have a cuppa tea and let the camera rolling, while the Beatles were unaware that the camera was on and behaved totally natural. Jackson mentioned that he reviewed 150 hours of material, so it’s obvious that the boys often must have just forgotten that cameras were present.

He had it legally changed in Culver City when I was in elementary school there. The Chief of Police’s son was in my grade, and he was the envy of all because he got to ride in a car with Soupy.

I did some work in the theater in the mid seventies and met Max Showalter. Interesting guy.

His sons also seem to have Sales as their legal last names. Hunt Sales and Tony Sales were David Bowie’s rhythm section in the band Tin Machine. They were also in Iggy Pop’s band for Lust For Life. That very recognizable bass and drum line from the song is from the Sales boys.

Arnold George Dorsey apparently figured he’d get more attention if he called himself Engelbert Humperdink. Guess he was right, but his MBE has his real name on it.

Yeah? He seemed like it.

Tell us more about meeting him.

I was working as a stagehand. Basically what we did was go out between acts and move stuff around, getting it ready for the next act. We had to be as well rehearsed as the actors themselves. The name of the play was “Yankee Ingenuity”. The theater was associated with where I went to college, hence my “in”. So when we weren’t doing that, we sat and waited in the proverbial green room drinking coffee, playing cards and shooting the bull. As I recall, Mr. Showalter was the senior member of the cast in terms of experience and had a lot of stories to tell, none of which I recall. (hey, it was the seventies and I was doing a fair amount of weed in those days).

I read, a long time ago, that it was his professional manager who gave him the name Englebert Humperdinck.

The name was not original, though. See: Englebert Humperdinck, 1854-1921, German composer.

I believe Rock Hudson kept his legal name of Roy Fitzgerald. When he died and it was revealed it was due to AIDS and that he was gay, there were stories of him going to gay bars and giving Roy Fitzgerald as an alias.

I am pretty sure Jay-Z is legally known as Shawn Carter. Googling around, it seems that Jay-Z is considered his “stage name.”

That appears to be the norm with the genre. I’m trying to think of any hip hop artists that changed their name legally. There must be someone but I can’t think of anyone.

Kanye West legally changed his name to Ye.

Michael Caine was talking to his agent (or his union, I don’t remember which) on a pay phone when he was informed he’d have to change his name. He was trying to think of one he’d like when he noticed the marquee on the cinema across the street. The movie they were showing was… (Wait for it!)

The Caine Mutiny.

(At least that’s the story I’ve heard.)

The late Jack “Steve McGarrett” Lord’s real name was John Joseph Patrick Ryan. So far as I know, he never legally changed it, though he might have wished he had. On one occasion, he was testifying in court and the lawyer insisted on calling him Mr Ryan,even though he’d been told in no uncertain terms that Jack would prefer to use his stage name.